The player is the wolf.Think about it: You bought this game in the first place. Maybe you were just curious. Maybe you were drawn to the horror of a game about a bunch of little girls lost in the woods. When you started playing, you picked your first girl, and she met the wolf and died in Grandmother's house, and you knew the same thing would happen to the other girls, but you kept playing anyway. It's a third person game, after all. You're not seeing from the girls' point of view. The camera is positioned just behind them. The player follows the girls through the forest. Chases them. Drives them toward beautiful discoveries (the flowers) and dangerous distractions. Just like the wolf in the original story. Further: You only succeed when the girls die. When the girl in white comes up to help a girl you're following, it's almost impossible to get the girl away from her, to the point where you have to struggle with her to get away. You have to make the girls go up to the other people in the forest; the girls approach the "wolves," not the other way around. You even have to push some of the girls quite hard to get them killed (Carmen's woodsman has to be carefully seduced, for example).
The girls all represent the Grandmother's regrets.Growing up, she made many mistakes and misjudgments. She played with dangerous things and was hurt. She got into accidents. She was betrayed by people she trusted. Time and again she ran into trouble, and looking back on her life, she thinks "What if...?" If only she could have avoided every pitfall, if only she could go back and do things over, knowing what she knows now. But such regrets are a normal part of life. Everyone makes mistakes, and the experiences change them, and certainly not always for the worst. This is why avoiding the wolves is considered a 'failure': they come away unharmed, but also without finding whatever they sought. To get what they desire, they have to deal with the dangers, and the fallout of their decisions. The Girl in White represents her ideal: what she might have been had she never made any mistakes, never gotten into any trouble. Ultimately, an illusion: a complete impossibility. Something that can never be achieved. Hence, in the end even she is stained, as she accepts the fact that she cannot change her past, and accepts it for what it is... temporarily. But the cycle repeats, because she simply cannot let things lie. She still wonders from time to time, "What if...?" (Alternately, the girls represent aspects of the unseen "Mother", while the Grandmother represents the complete isolation and loneliness a life spent avoiding taking any risks at all could very well lead to. The beautiful Girl in White is idealized innocence; the catatonic Grandmother represents a much harsher reality.)
The Wolves And The Girl In White Are The Fair FolkAll of the forest characters, GIW included, have a distinctly "elven" flavor to them, Scarlet's Wolf not the least of them. This, combined with the Mind Rape experience you have in Grandmother's house for each of them makes me believe that the wolves are fairies of the worst kind, the type that just wants to have a bit of harmless fun, and yet have no idea what "harmless" for a human means. The Girl In White is a bit more benevolent, and yet when all the reds are dead, she attacks Grandmother in the belief that it will bring them back. Then again, they come back, so...Maybe she was right.
The Red's Mother is the Original Red Riding HoodA comment in one of the girl's Livejournals states that something 'scary' happened to the mother when she was younger and that is why she warns her children to stay on the path. Maybe she was tricked by a 'wolf' (which could either be a rather hairy man or a literal werewolf), went to her grandmother's house, found out that her grandma was killed, nearly got killed herself by the 'wolf' and was saved by a woodcutter.
Rose has a terminal illnessNot my theory, but a lot of her thoughts focus around 'flying' i.e dying. She wears a gown, suggesting that she doesn't go out much. People who are dying often place value in other living things, so she is a Friend to All Living Things. Alternately, she drowned, which supports the water imagery around her.
The girls are all terminally ill or comatose, and the forest was created by an Eldritch Abomination seeking to take their souls.It is inescapable by ordinary means, looping infinitely in all directions, and offers those within what they (think they) most desire. Of course, if they're foolish enough to accept its offer, explicitly or subconsciously (by encountering the wolf), the forest stops wasting effort pretending to be anything other than a twisted Eldritch Abomination / Eldritch Location. It will continue doing this until it attempts to take the mind of someone with enough willpower to refuse its offer and destroy it. Maybe an Irish assassin or something.
The girls are all dead.The game is just a way for you to guide their spirits to see how they died and find peace. The girl in white is a guiding angel, and her grandmother is God.
The girls have all been abducted by aliens.The game is some sort of experiment the aliens are doing in order to study human behaviour.
The girls are all phases of the Grandmother's lifeAnd they represent the mistakes she made through her life (played with animals and got hurt, explored being lesbian, hooked up with a bad boy and wound up in a car crash, ect), and the death of the girls is the gradual death of her innocence. The girl in white is her conscience, as she can lead the girls back to the path when they are too lost.
Continuing the above WMG: The Girl In White is the representation of the ideal life the Grandmother never had.After going through the mistakes, traumatic events and the loss of innocence, that each of the "girls" represents, the Grandmother is just an empty shell, tormented with shame and pain over her past. In her bedroom there is a Wolf's dummy and the picture of the girl in white. Both represent her past - the Wolf is her guilt over her past mistakes, the girl's picture is her regret for the life she might have had if she hadn't made those mistakes. Notice that in the epilogue, the girl in white doesn't comment on any objects, doesn't have a wolf and walks quickly and confidently towards the Grandmother's house (just like the girls do, if they stay on the path). She doesn't seem to have any problems or even any thoughts - that's because she has never existed. She isn't a real person, just an ideal the Grandmother is dreaming of. She cannot let go of her lost dream and regret, and so the ending of the game shows us how she has to relive the events of her life over and over. The fact that the girl's white dress is stained with red (the colour present in every girl's appearance and name) symbolizes that the ideal dream can never happen and the reality wil always stain it and make imperfect - like those "red" girls in the game.
The Girl in White is the REAL GranddaughterThe sisters are really grandmother's memories, whereas the girl in white is the pure child who visits her grandmother.
The Girl in White is afarid of GrandmotherShe'll lead you along the correct path, but even if you walk the whole path with her, she won't (or can't) go into the house. The only time she does is when you play as her in the epilogue, and there is no wolf in the woods, so it's safe to assume that the grandmother is her "wolf".
There really isn't a "true meaning" to any of the stories, and that is the purpose of the game.A quick glance at the forums - or even at just this page - illustrates how varied the opinions are when it comes to drawing conclusions about the plot and meaning; as well, a repeated refrain is "I'm so glad that the creators never come right out and give it away: I think it's much more meaningful to come up with your own meanings." Fueling speculation is the function of the game, which was meant from the beginning to function as a digital psychodrama intended solely for that purpose, and to allow the developers to sit back, relax, and enjoy the varied interpretations of a game built to have no "true" interpretation at all. Whether it's identifying the scariest House through your own personal experiences or debating the sex of Scarlet's wolf based once more on your own personal 'feeling,' it's obvious that the myriad analyses say more about the players analyzing The Path than about the game itself; like children working through a session of projective doll play, what players come up with post-game reveals more about the players than the game. Now, why would this be the case, exactly? What purpose could it serve? Hey, who knows... ? (... brainwashing. Or Alice Human Sacrifice.)
RobinSo I've seen a lot of varying interpretations of what each chapter means, but not a whole lot of speculation on Robin's chapter. I initially didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about Robin as on the surface it seems like a fairly straightforward interpretation of the little red riding hood plot, and that Robin was in fact killed by a wolf/werewolf. The other possibility that occurred to me was that she fell into an open grave and died while playing around the graveyard. Notice that she will play in the dirt in the open grave before she encounters the wolf, and says something about how she loves playing in dirt. In that scene she will crawl out of the grave, but suppose she fell into a very deep grave and couldn't get out again? The OTHER thing that occurred to me was that Robin's chapter is all about her dealing with the death of her mother. Judging by the things she says throughout the game, she's a very naive child with very little understanding of anything besides that she just wants to be a kid and play, although she does have some interesting insights. Most notable is what she says about death, how it's a hard thing for "a kid like me" to understand. This, coupled with the fact that her important location is a graveyard, led me to assume she knows or understands more about death than she's letting on, and that she may have experienced the death of someone very important to her. Now, this could also represent her anxiety about her grandmother dying, but I think it might have more to do with the unseen mother. If you encounter the shopping cart with Robin, there's a somewhat bizarre scene where she hops inside it and says something like "kid for sale", to paraphrase. When I first saw this scene I assumed that Robin was just playing around, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that this too might have something to do with her dead mother. Robin's mother died and her father is nowhere to be seen, leaving her orphaned and "sold" into foster care or sent to an orphanage. I think this chapter is all about her lack of understanding in the face of death, and her feelings of being betrayed by the loss of her mother.
ScarletMy theory is that Scarlet's wolf represents isolation and a withdrawal from society. Scarlet's comments about life seem to be overwhelmingly negative. She resents men, she resents having to always be the responsible one, and the only thing she seems to find joy in is music and art. I think that everything eventually became too much for her and she decided to completely withdraw from the rest of the world, not unlike the artist who becomes a hermit. She retreats into her music, hence the curtain closing on her life. But everything she creates with her music she keeps to herself, because she doesn't think the outside world is worthy, hence the musical instruments floating about everywhere in the music room. Her creation has no purpose, because no one is there to enjoy it. Her obsessive desire for order becomes even worse the more she isolates herself, represented by the furniture covered sheets and the rows upon rows of jars. She becomes a lonely, bitter eccentric, and probably dies alone without having ever accomplished anything.
Ginger's Wolf symbolizes her first periodGinger is a girl who enjoys being independent and carefree. I don't agree with some representations that she wants to be a boy. But she's very adventurous, and I think she feels that "girly" stuff is too restrictive. She's 13 but she enjoys the freedom of childhood and doesn't want to grow up. Her Wolf wears a red dress and appears in a field of flowers. She pops all over the place and moves erratically. She sneaks up on Ginger. The scarecrow is there, but it doesn't scare away the birds. I think the red girl represents menstruation. The barbed wire imagery could also indicate the pain and annoying aspects of physical maturity. In the Grandmother's House, the butterflies on the walls of the room with the two beds could symbolize childhood. All of Ginger's thoughts represent her love of freedom, so she might fear the onset of puberty because she thinks maturing into a woman means a loss of freedom and the ability to have fun.
The Wolves, and what we see in the Grandmother's house after the Wolf has been encountered is a mix of memories, imagination and hallucinations.Each girl strays from the path, encounters their Wolf and makes it into the Grandmother's house- and passes out. What we see is what their minds produce- they're all injured and possibly sick. All of their hallucinations are influenced by their Wolves. The younger girls don't remember what really happened and what their Wolves really were so their minds create whatever seems most appropriate for a dangerous attacker- for Robin, an actual Wolf, for Rose, a giant mystical creature, and for Ginger, someone she could fall for. The older girls' Wolves are a mix of their memories and their desires- Ruby sees the boy who led her astray, which ended in her leg injury, Scarlet sees either the person she wanted to be like or the person she wanted to end up with, and Carmen sees the object of her desire. The Girl In White is the one who gets each girl back to the Path, and from there the girls manage to drag themselves into the house.
The Forest shapes itself to what each girl is most curious about/likes/wants.Robin is curious about death, so she stumbles upon the graveyard. Scarlet wants to be an accomplished musician, so she finds the theater. Ruby perhaps misses childhood and finds the playground. The Wolves of the other girls are found in the places the other girls think are most appropriate for them- Rose finds hers at the lake, Carmen at a camp (and since her Wolf is a lumberjack, it makes sense) and Ginger at a field of flowers.
The forest is The MatrixThe wolves are all Smiths.
Grandmother is a wolfJust like in the original story, the wolf disguises herself as her grandmother. And she represents living a life of ignorance and blind obedience.
Each girl's walk to grandma's house is just a near death experienceHence why grandma's house seems to have Chaos Architecture—endless hallways, doors that open to nonsensical rooms, and stairs leading to nowhere are all common dream/vision motifs.
Carmen is pregnant.After examining the symbols in Carmen's chapter, this troper came to the conclusion that there were a number of symbols that suggested Carmen became accidentally pregnant. Sex and flirting is an obvious theme with Carmen's personality, and two other things came to mind. First, the symbol that seems to represent Carmen is, oddly enough, a chair. This could suggest that she may have to do a lot of sitting. The chair is seen on the character select screen and at least once in Grandmother's house sitting on a pile of mattresses. Trees and deforestation are strongly present in Grandmother's house, perhaps representing the life she had wanted to lead being cut down. Finally, when "Grandmother's room" is reached, we find a bed with a tree growing up through the middle of it. This could imply that something is growing inside her, which would likely be the consequence of pregnancy from unprotected sex.
The Girl in White's appearance is modelled off Auriea Harvey, Data Director at Tale of Tales.Here's Rose's page on the main site. Scroll down to the bottom, and there's a picture of Harvey aged 8. She's a dark skinned little girl wearing a white dress, and it may be that the creators chose to make that image the one on the page for a good reason. The caption Rose gives the picture is: "Auriea is the star! Or should that be the Goddess? She made us all in her image. And the Forest! And the House!" ; which may or may not support the previous WMG suggesting that the GIW is a celestial being.
The Girl in White is a Wolf.She helps the girls back to the path! She's kind and helpful... isn't that how the original story Wolf seemed to Red? If you don't stop moving to interact, she'll lead you on a wild goose chase through the forest. She is always there when the girls approach their Wolves. Once they're all out of the way, she's off to Grandma's house. At the end of the game, there's the GIW... covered in blood... as the girls walk in, one by one.
The Girl in White is trying to help each of the girls.However, she can only help them by either leading them back to the path, or helping them find what they are really looking for inside the forest, namely the wolf. After either taking them back to the path, or showing them where the wolf is, she quietly steps back and lets the girl decide for themselves what they'll do next, as she has no power to stop them. It is up to them to choose their path.
Grandmother is a retired Time Lord, and her house is her TARDISThat would explain the house, right? Smaller on the outside, bigger on the inside . . .
Grandmother is a True Fae.Continuing the above theory, the forest around her house is part of the Hedge. As fits with what we know about the Gentry, Grandmother is herself, the house (which would feel right at home in the splatbooks), and possibly the wolves as well. That she can create a straight path through the Hedge for others says a lot about her power, though typically, just following it doesn't really end well. Possibly the entire game is a Secret Test of Character for some purpose. Now, this leaves the question of the girls' mother, who might be either a changeling herself and a loyalist, or possibly Grandmother's actual daughter—not supposed to be possible, but White Wolf leave a lot open to individual Storyteller decisions. As for the Girl in White—a changeling? A hobgoblin? Perhaps Grandmother's Nemesis (from Equinox Road)?
The Girl in White died alongside Ginger, and Grandmother's house is the afterlife.Ginger's wolf bears a strong resemblance to the Girl in White. It's possible that Ginger and the Girl in Red were friends who died after they went to visit Ginger's grandmother together, becoming lost after wandering off the path to play and subsequently falling prey to the dangers of the wilderness. With this in mind, the whole game takes place in the afterlife, and the wolf encounters we see are stylized but overall accurate accounts of what happened to each girl:
Scarlet was secretly glad of her sisters' deaths.This assumes that Scarlet is the last to die. She'd had to give up her musical ambitions in order to take care of her sisters. So when they died one by one, she felt relief and perhaps even joy. With them out of the way, she was free to pursue her dreams. She then quickly gained a charming admirer (possibly her teacher) of both her music and herself. This admirer, however, became obsessive and didn't like Scarlet performing for anyone but himself, and so he took her to an abandoned concert hall as a "romantic gesture," and this was where she realized his obsession and rejected him, causing him to fly into a rage and kill her.
Rose is slowly becoming - or already is - The Ophelia.Just think about it. Rose is the "innocent" Red, the kindest and gentlest of them. She's the most feminine-looking of the sisters. Her mind's always in the clouds. And she's close to nature. Not to mention that she meets her wolf in a body of water. And presumably drowns after her Wolf encounter.
Scarlet had an affair with her music teacher.Scarlet seems deeply lonely and overburdened by her responsibilities at home. In her isolation, she turned began to have passionate feelings for her music teacher, caused partly by her passion for art and music (which is why she describes lust with the metaphor of music: "long slim fingers gently caressing the keys of me".) They had an affair which quickly turned toxic, with the the teacher stifling her creativity, pulling her away from her other responsibilities. The wolf appearance is ambiguous gender wise (it has a womanly face but androgynous body, it could be a woman or feminine man) , and the name "fey wolf" could suggest that the gender of the teacher was irrelevant, it was the connection to art and fantasy that attracted her to the wolf.
Ginger's wolf isn't just representative of her entering puberty, it's of her realizing she is gay.As noted above Ginger's wolf and grandmother's house seem to represent her coming to terms with growing up, but could also represent her realization about her sexuality. Not only is she very tomboyish, but her playful interactions with the wolf have elements of playful flirtation. She might have started developing feelings for a female friend about her age. At 13, she's at the age many people start realizing they have feelings for others. She feels quite scared about her new desires, as many young teenagers do, but more so as not is she scared of growing up.
Scarlet's Wolf represented carelessnessI have to admit this theory isn't mine - I just saw it on the internet and thought it so brilliant I just had to share it here. Judging by her description on the website, her monologues and the way she interacts with her sisters on livejournal, it is very obvious that Scarlet's life is defined by duty. Being the oldest of many sisters who may not have always had a mother to take care of them, Scarlet always had to be the responsible one, and while she never faltered in her duties, it is clear that at least on some level she isn't fully satisfied with her role. Hers is a life of one menial chore after another, watching her sisters playing and having fun while she stays behind to do the laundry and clean the house - but what she really wanted was to create art. To make music. In the game, too, Scarlet has an obligation: she was told to head over to grandma's to bring her food (and perhaps, by extension, help her around some). Now, we know that the Wolves all represent temptations, but in Scarlet's case, that temptation might not have been a man or an exciting experience of some sort: it was the temptation of letting go. Of sitting down, just for a little, little while, for a quiet few hours of well deserved time for herself, doing the things she likes. So she plays music on the piano and has a great time for the first time in so long, not realizing that time has passed... and by the time she makes it to grandma's, the house looks like somebody's died in it. It's been picked clean and the furniture are covered like the place is about to be sold. Scarlet ignored her duties, preferring, instead, to selfishly enjoy herself - and it cost her dearly. Grandma needed Scarlet to take care of her. Maybe she needed a medicine she couldn't reach for herself. Maybe she had a stroke or a heart attack and no one was around to provide assistance. Each of the girls learns a lesson about growing up from her Wolf: Scarlet's lesson is that being grown up means that you have to accept your duties, and that the consequences of ignoring them can be grim indeed.